The Shippensburg University Raiders completed a dominating four-game series sweep over Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) competition, Mansfield University, over the weekend.
The Raiders (20-17, 10-10 PSAC) combined a flurry of hitting with excellent pitching to propel them to the sweep over Mansfield (9-24, 3-17 PSAC).
The Raiders got off to a tremendous start at the plate on Friday, totaling 36 runs on 31 hits between their 20-5 and 16-1 victories to open up the weekend series against Mansfield. Six different players hit a home run and six different players totaled more than one RBI in Friday’s routs over Mansfield.
Senior Dalton Hoiles led the way for SU, going 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and six runs scored. Senior Nick Spangler had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-6 with a homer, a double and five RBIs. Freshman Scout Knotts also had a good day at the dish, going 4-for-8 with a home run and five RBIs. Junior Drew Bene added two home runs and six RBIs in SU’s winning efforts on Friday.
The Raiders also received a pair of excellent pitching performances from both of their starters in Friday’s games. Senior Gabe Mosser continued his solid season by going five innings and giving up two runs on five hits while striking out seven. Mosser currently stands at 6-3 with a 3.91 ERA through 10 appearances this season.
Sophomore Zack Sims also added a stellar performance on the mound for the Raiders in their 16-1 win over Mansfield. Sims tossed a complete game, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out a career high 14 Mansfield hitters. The 14 strikeouts are the most a Raider player has had in a single game since Matt Wright struck out 15 in 2008. Sims is currently in the midst of a career year, going 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA. An improvement in strikeouts (he’s already surpassed his previous totals) and a massive lowering of his opponents batting average has combined to make Sims one of SU’s most lethal pitchers on the mound this season.
Shippensburg had all facets of the game going in Friday’s half of the four game weekend series. While the bats cooled down on Saturday, SU still received a pair of dominating performances on the mound.
Senior Andy Crum and junior Michael Hope both pitched complete game shutouts for the Raiders. Crum allowed only three hits and struck out seven while Hope, who usually comes out of the bullpen, gave up five hits while striking out five.
The Raiders gave Crum all the support he would need when Bene hit an RBI sacrifice fly in the first inning to make the game 1-0. However, they would go on to add six more runs to their effort. Powered by Crum’s stellar outing, the Raiders won 7-0.
Crum, similarly to Sims, is also having a career year on the mound. He is currently 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA. Crum previously finished seasons with an ERA in the fives, but now he has lowered it to below 3.00. The Raiders are going to need him to continue to perform at this high level if they are to make a run in the PSAC tournament.
In Saturday’s nightcap, Hope won a pitching duel between himself and Mansfield’s starter Bryce Zaparzynski. Hope, as previously mentioned, tossed a complete game shutout and the Raiders completed the weekend sweep with a 1-0 win. The lone run of the game came on a RBI single by Spangler in the fifth inning.
Hope has been a dominant reliever this season for SU, but he was called on to start on the mound on Saturday. He answered the call in only the second start of his career with perhaps the best performance of his career. Hope currently holds a 1–2 record to go with a 1.82 ERA.
The Raiders have been playing at a very high level recently, winning nine of their last 10 games. They are currently sitting in fifth place in the PSAC Eastern Division. Lock Haven (20-13, 10-10 PSAC) currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. SU is two games behind Lock Haven and SU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Lock Haven due to the four-game sweep that occurred two weeks ago. The Raiders will look to capture the momentum that they have gained this weekend against Mansfield. They have 11 games remaining on their schedule, which is enough time to possibly make a run at that coveted fourth spot in the Eastern Division.
The Raiders next take on PSAC Western Division competition when they face off in a doubleheader against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (10-22, 7-13 PSAC) this afternoon at Fairchild Field.